Epsom, a historic market and spa town on the outskirts of London’s southwestern suburbs, is a booming residential hub with a population of around 30 thousand people. However, for such a little town, it is well-known outside of England for its salts and horse racing.
Every year in early June, the Downs to the southeast of the city take on a carnival-like atmosphere as tens of thousands of racing enthusiasts go to witness the annual gathering of racing and all the rest that goes with it..
Epsom salts are well known mineral salts.
Cattle refused to drink from an Epsom spring in the 1600s, and it was determined that the reason was because the water had a high concentration of magnesium sulphate. Epsom, like other adjacent towns, is situated on the spring line, where the permeable gypsum of the Downs meets the waterproof London clay.
At the end of the century, it became fashionable to visit baths and drink water that was said to be capable of curing a variety of maladies, and Epsom grew popular as a result. King Charles II also came here to drink Epsom water, but the spa town’s prosperity did not endure long, as Bath and Tunbridge Wells grew in popularity.
Epsom salts are still available, and while they don’t actually come from Epsom, epsomite, or magnesium sulphate heptahydrate, was found in this Surrey town.
Every Saturday, a busy street market is held on Epsom High Street, a huge and majestic road with numerous notable ancient buildings, including a well visible Victorian clock tower.
The Assembly Rooms structure was constructed in 1692, when the baths were at their zenith of popularity. It served as a gathering area and had a saloon, a café, and a billiard room. Following the decrease in popularity of the baths in the first half of the 1700s, a substantial portion of the structure was occupied by stores and as a family homes. Now there is even a Wetherspoons pub.
Epsom Horse Racing
Horse racing has been a tradition at Epsom Downs since 1683, when Charles II is claimed to have attended, although it was at the time a very informal event, it took nearly a century to become official in 1779.
A group of aristocratic sportsmen led by Lord Derby established The Oaks, a three-year-old filly competition. A year later, they launched the Derby, a three-year-old horse competition. The Derby family maintained its connection with the Derby and the Oaks over the years.
The building of Epsom’s first train station in 1847, together with the dissolution of the estate of Epsom Court, aided the city’s growth. Epsom Station is now a significant rail hub where lines to London Victoria and London Waterloo divide, so getting there is easy.
Epsom also has the University of the Creative Arts , which includes art, fashion, design and theatre.